Lincoln – The contrast was as clear as day.
“Maine as a Vacation Land is gone,” said tourist, Rainer Egle.
One group celebrating by barbeque.
“It’s a good day,” said First Wind CEO, Paul Gaynor.
The other protesting their success.
“Yesterday our camp went up for sale and we came here for nature, not industry. It really makes our heart break,” said Egle.
He and his wife visit from Switzerland three times a year, but are giving up their summer home over a project that First Wind spent the day honoring.
“We’ve been battling here in the local community for a long time and it’s finally good to see the process come to a conclusion,” said Gaynor.
The company’s Rollins Wind project will go online within the next couple days, thanks to a long term contract with the state’s Public Utilities Commision.
They believe it will finally show what their forty turbines can do.
“I think the numbers and the facts speak for themselves. That’s about enough power to, over the course of a year, annually provide to about 23-thousand homes in the region.”
But the signs outside painted a different picture.
“This project only started only a year or two ago, and most of the workers are gone. It’s beneficial in the short term. My sign says cost benefit analysis.” said protestor, Peter Fisher.
Protestors want that logic to be applied to First Wind’s next proposal, the Bowers Wind project.
“It’s probably one of the prime gems in the interior Downeast region,” said Fisher.
But that will ultimately fall in the hands of the Land Use Regulation Commission, which will have to decide if the benefit of clean energy is worth the cost to the state’s landscape.
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